Bobby stepped onto the train and looked behind him as the doors swished shut. He’d done it! He’d managed to get on board before Jay’s boys caught up to him. When it got to the station he wanted, all he’d have to do would be to get on the bus for the airport, and he’d be home free. He slid his small suitcase onto the rack above the nearest seat and sat down, wiping his sleeve across his forehead.
The car Bobby had chosen wasn’t too full, which was just what he wanted. Enough people so he didn’t stand out, but not so full that he’d have to interact with anyone. The older guy at the end of the car was rambling on about how godawful the government was. There was a couple two seats away taking selfies and comparing Facebook posts. And there were two tourists talking to each other in – was it Spanish? Probably. A couple of women on the other side of the car off to a ‘girls’ night out.’ The car felt awfully warm, even though they kept the train temperature-controlled. Bobby put his machine-issued ticket on the seat next to him and looked out the window, hoping nobody was paying attention to him.
The train stopped at the next station, the brakes squeaking loudly as it pulled in. Bobby glanced up as more passengers got aboard. Nobody he knew, and none of them sat down in his car. He let out a long, slow breath and went back to looking out the window.
Then came the next stop. Bobby looked over as the doors opened. For a minute, he didn’t think anyone was going to get aboard. Then, of all people, he saw Trevor come up the stairs and into the car. He thought of moving, but it was too late: Trevor’d seen him. He swallowed hard.
‘Well, look who the hell it is,’ Trevor said. He picked up Bobby’s ticket, dropped it onto Bobby’s lap, and sat down next to him.
‘Trevor,’ Bobby said, in as calm a voice as he could manage. ‘What’s up? Haven’t seen you in a while.’
‘I been around. I’m surprised to see you here. Where’re you heading?’
‘Oh, you know. Just into the city.’
Trevor nodded. Then he looked straight at Bobby. ‘Good thing I ran into you. Jay’s been asking about you.’
‘Yeah.’ Trevor’s expression hardened. ‘He wants to talk to you.’
‘He’s got my number.’
‘No, he wants to talk to you. In person. In fact, he asked me to be sure and let you know.’ Trevor opened his jacket just a little so that Bobby could see the gun peeking out. He read Bobby’s expression.
‘You think I’d use this on you? Here? How the hell stupid do you think I am? And anyway, me and you are just having a little conversation, that’s all.’
Bobby had to stop himself from sagging with relief.
Trevor went on. ‘Look, I got nothing against you personally. But a guy like Jay, you owe him money, you gotta pay it back.’
‘I’m going to pay him.’
‘That’s what you said last week. And the one before. Jay ain’t going to wait a lot longer. That’s why I’m here. As a kind of reminder.’
‘I know.’ Bobby thought a minute. ‘How about this? How about I stop by later tonight when I get back?’
‘Long’s you got Jay’s money.’
‘That’s good. Jay’ll be happy to hear it. My station’s coming up soon. I’m going to go take a leak.’ Then he glanced over at Bobby and smiled a little. ‘Looks like you already did.’ He got up from his seat and headed towards the small washroom. He came out just before the train reached the next station. On his way to the door, he said, ‘S’long, Bobby.’
When Trevor left, Bobby slumped against the seat. He pulled off his jacket and tossed it on his lap. Only two more stations to go, and then he’d be free. He started to feel a little better. He was actually going to pull this off. Jay would be expecting him, but he’d be thirty thousand feet in the air.
The train finally pulled into the station Bobby needed. He picked up his jacket and took his suitcase down from the rack. When the doors opened, he left the train as quickly as he could without calling attention to himself. The first thing he’d have to do would be to change his clothes, so he headed towards the station’s restroom. When he’d put on a clean pair of jeans and stuffed the others into the trash, he zipped up the suitcase and left.
The bus depot was at the far end of the station complex. Now that the passengers from the train had gone their separate ways, the place was almost deserted. Bobby could hear the echoes of his footsteps as he walked towards the depot. Now that the sun was down, shadows started creeping out from behind the parked cars. Bobby started to imagine figures crouched behind them waiting for him. After a second or two of this, he shook his head to clear it. He was annoyed with himself for being so jumpy.
Then he saw it. The bus depot was only a few hundred yards away. Freedom couldn’t come too soon. He’d almost finished crossing the parking lot when a hand clapped him on the shoulder and spun him around.
‘What’s up, Bobby?’ Jay stood there, a cold smile on his face. Behind him were two of his goons.
‘Hey, Jay,’ Bobby managed.
‘Funny you’d be down here. I kinda thought you might be.’
‘Yeah, well, bullshit. You owe me.’
‘I know. I told Trevor –’
‘I know what you told Trevor. But why wait until late tonight when we can settle this right now?’
‘But I don’t –’
‘Oh, don’t worry about that. I got other plans.’ He turned towards one of the cars and clicked the trunk open as his thugs moved closer to Bobby.